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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Punisher Key Comics Part 6

Welcome to Part 6 of this Punisher key issues series. We are definitely into Garth's take on the character which will move from the Marvel Knights imprint to the Marvel MAX imprint.

The Ennis stuff are fan-favorites for a lot of Punisher fans, but there are some out there who stopped reading comics by the end of the Copper Age and were turned off by all the twisting and takes on the character. I do admit, it gets confusing.

Quite a few characters that Ennis created have already seen live-action and a lot of fans hope that the new Netflix stuff will incorporate more of these characters. If you missed any of the previous parts, the links below will navigate you to them.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7

1st issue to Punisher Marvel Knights on-going series
The Russian resurrected

Continuing from the Ennis twelve-issue limited series, The Punisher is once again thrust into his own self-titled on-going comic series. His war on crime continues, and this is the 1st Marvel Knights on-going Punisher series.

It lasted 'till issue #37, and Garth Ennis wrote most of the stories. However, Tom Peyer, Steve Dillon, and Ron Zimmerman also contributed stories to this comic series.

In the previous limited series, the Russian was dispatched of but he returns or is resurrected as a cyborg courtesy of stolen technology by none other than S.H.I.E.L.D. The Russian does not play a major recurring foe in this series and dies once again by issue #5.

Martin Soap returns as a supporting character as well, and Spacker Dave, Joan, and Bumbo are not utilized as much in this comic series.

Estimated print run for this comic is around 91,944. No variants I could find concerning this issue.

Cover date for The Punisher #1 2001 Marvel Knights series is August, 2001.

1st appearance of General Kreigkopf 

The baddie responsible for bringing back the Russian as a tricked-out cyborg and even more lethal than before is General Kreigkopf. The Russian is Kreigkopf's assassin, and the general plans to make war on the Punisher.

Much like the Russian's appearances in this comic series, General Kreigkopf also doesn't appear all that much until his death at the hands of the Punisher in issue #5. Now, when I say not a major villain at all, I'm not saying "not memorable".

I'm saying that this villain does not last long in actual comics before he is dispatched. It is a fact that the Punisher does not have that many long-lasting, recurring villains that he battles often.

Sure, there's the exception of Kingpin, Tombstone, and Jigsaw, but many of the villains that are actually created and debut in his own titled comic series? They usually don't last all that long.
And that wouldn't make sense if they did since the Punisher is...well, the Punisher, the anti-hero who wants to extinguish the life of all criminals. If he had a lot of long-lasting, recurring villains, the Punisher would be pretty inefficient as a vigilante whose sole purpose is to kill bad guys. 

Anyway, the estimated print run of this comic is around
89,486. There is a variant to this cover, but I couldn't find any information about if it's a 50/50 split or how limited it is or not.

Punisher #2 volume 4 or the 2001 series has the cover date of August, 2001.

1st appearance of Yorkie Mitchell

Although Yorkie Mitchell first debuts in the Marvel Knights on-going series, he played more a role in the Marvel Max Punisher series. Yorkie is Frank Castle's long-time war buddy, in which the two met and fought in Vietnam.

Yorkie was in the British SAS in Vietnam and would join MI6. In his first appearance in this issue, Yorkie is part of MI6 and Frank goes to Belfast to take on the I.R.A. Yorkie's war past connection would be told in the Marvel Max series, and he would have more appearances in that universe.

Estimated print run for this comic is around 47,350. Punisher #18 of the on-going 2001 Marvel Knights series has the cover date of December, 2002. 

1st appearance of Jennifer Cooke

Jennifer Cooke is yet another supporting character that pops up here and there. She was created by Garth Ennis and appears both the Marvel Knights and Marvel Max imprints.

Cooke is a social worker who had a rough childhood being raised by an alcoholic mother. Her first appearance is in this issue, and even in the MAX comic series, the Punisher knows Jenn Cooke and she is still a social worker.

June, 2003 is the cover date for Punisher #24 volume 4 or the 2001 series. Estimated print run is around 40,616.

1st appearance of Steve Goodwin
1st issue to limited series
1st appearance of Marvel Max Frank Castle

The Marvel MAX series was in a way Marvel's answer to DC's Vertigo imprint. Like Marvel Knights, this MAX imprint was a way to tell more stories geared towards a mature audience. MAX was geared towards an adult audience and no problem showing more brutal content with explicit language.

Garth Ennis would also helm this version of the Punisher for the MAX series, and it is a different version indeed. The MAX series was not part of Marvel mainstream continuity and existed in an alternate reality for the most part.

Born is a prequel of sorts to the birth of the Punisher, and the series once again retells Frank Castle's story in Vietnam prior to when he returns to his family in New York.

The limited series is primarily told through the eyes of Steve Goodwin, a young marine whose service is almost up and is counting down the days. Most of the story takes place at or around Firebase Valley Forge, in which most of the Marines are heroin addicts and its commanding officer is an uncaring drunk.

Frank Castle in this story is seen as extremely ruthless and brutal. He is already unhinged and has conversations with a voice that continually goads him into unleashing his thirst for blood and combat. This voice eventually offers him a gift at a price which Castle finally accepts in issue #4.

If we are going by a different universe from Marvel's mainstream, this is the first appearance of the Frank Castle Marvel MAX version. It is confusing though as one of the Marvel MAX Punisher elements that is kept in marvel mainstream is the Punisher being the lone survivor of Valley Forge as mentioned in the Civil War event.

Marvel MAX was highly criticized by Stan Lee. Regarding the 2001 Fury limited series, Lee said, "I don't know why they're doing that. I don't think that I would do those kinds of stories."

In my opinion, this series is really damn good and any fan of the character should at least read it. Born #1 has the cover date of August, 2003. Estimated print run is around 63,667.

1st appearance of Kathryn O'Brien
1st appearance of Marvel Max Microchip
1st Marvel MAX Frank Castle as Punisher

This is the 1st issue to the on-going Marvel MAX Punisher comic series, once again kicked off by Garth Ennis. Microchip is brought into the fold in this apparent alternate reality that the MAX imprint supposedly takes place. 

In this world, Microchip is working for the CIA and tries to enlist the Punisher into its black ops unit to hunt for terrorists, namely Osama Bin Laden. Punisher refuses, but Microchip does aid the Punisher briefly.

Unlike the mainstream version of Microchip, he is not a regular supporting character like he is in the 1st on-going Punisher comic series. He dies in issue #6 of this series.

Kathyrn O'Brien is a major supporting character for this series and starts off as a CIA agent but would later quit. Her ex-husband is Rawlins, a character that has been cast for the Netflix show.

With a few CIA agents cast and gunning for Frank Castle as it appears the first season is gearing towards, I think a bit of the Punisher MAX stories or elements in this comic series just might be used for the show. 

O'Brien is a love interest for Frank in the series, and would give birth to his only surviving child in this universe, Sarah. Estimated print run of this comic is around 56,350, and The Punisher #1 from the first MAX series has the cover date of March, 2004.

1st appearance of Pittsy
1st appearance of Nicolas "Nicky" Cavella
1st appearance of Ink

Pittsy and Ink are two characters that actually appeared in the Punisher War Zone movie. In the film, these two were henchmen of Jigsaw. 

The comics had these two as the henchmen of Nicky Cavella, another mafia-type character in the world of the Punisher. Pittsy and Ink were played by actors Mark Comacho and Keram Malicki-Sánchez.

In the comics, Pittsy and Ink were not father and son like portrayed in the flick. They are pretty ruthless in the comics.

Nicky Cavella lasted a while but also died in this comic series. Ink and Pittsy are also offed by the Punisher in this series as well.

Estimated print run for this issue is around 49,197. March, 2004 is the cover date for Punisher #2 Marvel Max series.

1st appearance of Finn & Peter Cooley
1st appearance of Maginty

Finn & Peter Cooley are Irish gangsters, and Finn is an ex IRA explosives expert who had his face blown off. He became leader of a gang called Kitchen Irish in the comic series.

The character has already appeared in Daredevil season 2 as just Finn and his face is not blown off. The Kitchen Irish gang do show up as well and are part of the Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen. The character was played by Tony Curran.

Peter Cooley is also a former IRA soldier who is the nephew of Finn in the comics. They are seeking to locate 10 million dollars that old Irish gangster named Nesbitt stashed away.

The character of Maginty is a fan favorite Punisher comic character. Leader of a Hell's Kitchen gang, Maginty is Afro-Irish and born in Dublin before coming to the States. 

The character was portrayed by T.J. Storm in the Punisher War Zone flick and his gang in that film did all the parkour crap. In the comics, his gang a long with the other gangs are also looking for the stashed 10 million.

Apparently Nesbitt wrote each of the gangs a letter stating that they were included in his will and wanted each of them to work together to find it. In actuality, it was a trap instead, and Nesbitt lured all the Hell's Kitchen gangs to one area where a bomb awaited them (issue #12).

This Kitchen Irish story line would bring back Yorkie Mitchell into the mix. The son of Yorkie's friend, Andy Lorimer, would be introduced in issue #8. Estimated print run for this comic is around 48,126, and the cover date for Punisher #7 2004 series is August, 2004.

While a fan of this character, doing extended key issues lists is almost as annoying as doing one for the Walking Dead where new characters are constantly being introduced and dying off. I understand the need for this in the comics.

Punisher is fighting an extremely dangerous war that extends beyond the streets and often reaches abroad. Plenty of corrupt people and organizations to battle, and like mentioned before, he wouldn't be very effective or bad ass if most of his baddies lived to continually battle him.

The character is a different beast entirely, much like the problem with Deathstroke. Can't be the greatest assassin if he doesn't eliminate most of his foes, right?

I think I'm only going to do 2 more parts to this. It's getting extremely stale on my end, and if you're actually writing about the character (not for the character), it's basically like a broken record for the most part.

I am not quite sure, but I think Elektra and the Punisher may have their first meeting in issue #27 of the 2001 Marvel Knights series. They do appear in Code of Honor #2 as well, but I'm not sure if they're in the same panels or interact in anyway.

Elektra does show Frank just how quick she is by taking away his gun before even realizing it. They do not get into it, and I'm really not quite sure why she's in the comic. Just seems like she was thrown into it just for the hell of it.

There are Newsstand editions of that issue #27, which do not have the words Direct Edition on the UPC. More Punisher key comics in Part 7.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7


  1. Hey ole Mayhem,

    much more ole Ace here. Got another one to ad to your list which might fit the fun categorie as well as the investment categorie. Remember "What if Venom possessed Deadpool"? Sure, we all know where that book is now - somewhere up in the sky. Why shouldn' t that also be the place for WHAT IF VENOM HAD POSSESSED THE PUNISHER? Just trying to plant a thought.


  2. Hey yo my Mayhem man,

    I also stumbled upon something strange for the Punisher mythos. In the Guardians of the Galaxy storylines there is like an organization of people who dress like Punishers. I think something like "Spirit of Vengeance" is named in that context. Whatever. Maybe it' s worth noticing...

    Max Rebo

  3. Hey,

    if we' re talkin' about Venom an' the Punisher, I can also ad the mini series Venom Funeral Pyre. It' s from 1993 and it came with a funky chrome cover (what else, it was the friggin' 90's, and we didn' t have paper covers back in those days). Don' t know if anyone give' s a rat' s ass, but I have seen this comic command a few bucks on ebay.